Skip to main content

Continuous Improvement: Bumble, Bumble, Nailed It!

I was in a conversation the other day that I was hoping was going to be straightforward.

We were looking to extend part of an ERP system into another area of the business. The area admittedly was difficult to model within ERP and had therefore been kept out of the system. But I had an idea that I thought would work.

The conversation was not straightforward...

This is like so many of our conversations around improvement though isn't it?

We think we may have a workable solution and as soon as we have said our piece a million reasons why it can't / won't work are thrown up. You've got to stick with these conversations and see where they can take you to. If you keep going you have a chance of finding a practical solution that everyone can buy into.

That's just what I did in this particular case. I explored other options and found some avenues to explore, just to keep the conversation going.

We prodded, probed and chatted until an elegant and simple option presented itself.

That's the one we went for, and it is working wonderfully.

If you feel that you are getting shot down when you are proposing improvement ideas don't worry, unfortunately this seems to be a natural part of the process. Keep going, keep 'bumbling around' with one eye on your improvement objective and you will reach a workable conclusion.

The key is to keep going...

Giles Johnston
Author of Business Process Re-Engineering

Popular posts from this blog

Where there is a (performance) gap there is a concern

I had a really good day yesterday working with a client's team.

The team has issues. Plenty of issues. Some are managerial issues, some are people issues and some are production issues.

When I first met the team they didn't know what to do with their issues, so I started by helping them to see more issues.

Issues everywhere, they didn't seem very impressed.

And then we captured the issues as 'concerns' into the tried and tested 'concern cause countermeasure' format and followed the process:

Concerns probed for root causes and root causes converted into countermeasures.
Soon they realised that some of their root causes dealt with numerous concerns and they gained momentum.

Yesterday we pulled another one of their processes apart and identified all of the gaps. The gaps became concerns and we fed them back into the process. Now they have a practical action plan (of countermeasures) to upgrade the process in question.

What do you do with your performance gaps? …

Continuous Improvement and the Five Legged Race

Many improvement projects need the buy in of several people before they can progress. Amongst these people there will be some that have a firm view of what needs to happen and are keen to make progress. Some of the people won't be sure and they will need more time. Other people might not be that interested and have other priorities they want to focus on.

None of this is wrong.

It is an observation of mine and one that I see repeat on a regular basis with the businesses that I come into contact with.

But, if we take the principle from the observation we have an interesting improvement strategy (one that I personally use when I get stuck with my client's improvement projects).

You might have worked out the approach from the title of this blog post, but it is analogous to a three-legged race (or four, five, nine...). If someone in the group moves in the wrong direction and / or at the wrong speed then the whole group falls over.

In the example I gave at the start it is no differe…

Do you have time to prepare (in order to become super productive)?

I had a funny conversation a few weeks ago with a team that was complaining about one of their colleagues spending 'ages' preparing their workstation within their factory. I meet a lot of people that spend too long preparing (and effectively procrastinating) so I was intrigued by their comment. It turns out that this individual didn't spend too long but rather his colleagues dived into their work without thinking through what the best way to work was...

The slower to start gentleman did in fact prepare his work area. He was also able to produce a far greater amount of work in the same time period because he had invested in a smarter way of working than his counterparts. The time spent preparing his working area was valuable and not overdone.

This example reminds us of the importance of the second S in 5S (set in order) and how workstation design is critical if we want to maximise the productivity of our teams. Whether this is a physical work area in a factory, the filing s…